The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

GCD annual report highlights invasive species, wildlife work


January 12, 2019

BESSEMER — The Gogebic Conservation District completed some inportant invasive plant eradications in 2018, according to its annual report.

James Wojcik, chairman of the board of the district, said, “We obtained two grants from the Gogebic Resource Advisory Committee, the group that helps award U.S. Forest Service funding for projects in Gogebic County.”

One of the grants covered eradication work on infestations of garlic mustard in the Ironwood-Bessemer area. The other provided funding for projects in Bluff Valley Park, Miners Memorial Heritage Park and the Iron Belle Trail.

A third federal invasive species grant funded education and some eradication work in both Gogebic and Ontonagon counties.

Ron Zaleski is the invasive species coordinator and he and GCD administrator Jim Finley, assisted by District Forester Winona Grieshop, a certified pesticide applicator, arranged projects with interested groups from spring into late fall. Chuck Frank and Marion True are active in conducting the projects.

The GCD was awarded two wildlife habitat grants in 2018. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative provided a $9,835 grant to develop food plots for deer in the Gogebic County Forest south of Bessemer. The project involved disking and seeding abandoned logging roads with a mixture of nutritious plants to provide early spring food for deer weakened by cold, hunger and giving birth to fawns.

The Ruffed Grouse Society Michigan Drummer Fund granted $9,200 to maintain and repair hunter walking trails at the Mosinee Grouse Enhanced Management System area south of Wakefield, and to rehabilitate hunter walking trails in the Ketola Grade trail system, south of Bessemer.

The GCD has been working to improve trout habitat in the Black River. Dan Perotti directed a field team provided by Partners for Watershed Restoration to remove several beaver dams on Underwood Creek, a brook trout spawning stream. Old beaver dams have segmented the stream. “We hope to continue this work in 2019. Volunteers are welcome in this and all our projects,” Wojcik said.

“We run a tight ship to maintain our financial health. Over the last several years, we have grown our net to nearly $30,000. This positions us to undertake a variety of future conservation projects to benefit the residents of Gogebic County,” he said.

The board consists of five elected members. One position is open.

Grieshop provides free forestry consultation services to private landowners in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties. She helps them obtain professional forest management plans to better manage properties to achieve timber production, wildlife habitat improvement and reduced property taxes.

Grieshop also develops educational workshops for the benefit of the community. In April 2018 she arranged a well-attended tree pruning class at Gogebic Community College in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and Range Master Gardeners.

“We had a successful Tree and Plant Sale in May,” Wojcik said. “We offer a variety of bare-root trees and plants for fruit production, reforestation, and wildlife habitat improvement. Revenue from this activity helps fund other conservation projects.”


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